Yes, there are now boutique hotels in Nusa Lembongan. And each visit reveals a new patch of scrub cleared for yet another homestay or more motorbikes on the lanes. But apart from the ever-growing number of tourists, this delightful island retains its village ambience – you can sense the laidback atmosphere as soon as you wade off the boat. Even the hawkers are half-hearted. Pretty white-sand bays. Near zero cars. At just 4km long and less than 3km wide, you could walk around it on a long hot day. What more could you ever want?
Tips for visiting Nusa LembonganTourism has most definitely arrived in Nusa Lembongan – around seventy percent of the seven thousand population are engaged in tourism to some degree – yet it’s largely restricted to Jungutbatu village in the north (which has the most accommodation), Mushroom Bay on the west side and the Lembongan area in the south, where the hotels tend to be more upmarket. This tiny island, next to Bali is on it's way to become a popular hotspot in Indonesia.
The islanders earn a crust by seaweed farming in the aquamarine shallows. A source of agar vegetable gel and carrageenan used in cosmetics and foodstuffs, seaweed is grown on chequerboard bamboo frames and harvested after 45 days – hard, physical work with unpredictable financial rewards. Mangroves, meanwhile, fringe much of the north and east coast.
Given Nusa Lembongan’s focus on diving and surfing, a trip into the mangrove swamps that fringe the northeast coast is one of the more unusual diversions on a visit. It’s an eerie experience: boats are punted with bamboo, so there’s no engine noise to disturb the crabs and birds that inhabit the muddy forest floor – the trip is best at low tide when the roots are exposed.
10 best things to do in Nusa LembonganThe best things to do in Nusa Lembongan usually mean you're either in the water or you’re staring at it. From snorkelling to diving, kayaking to sunbathing, minimal effort is required to make the most of this tiny island.
#1 Go on a mangrove safariA trip into Nusa Lembongan’s mangrove swamps along the northeast coast is an eerie experience: boats are punted with bamboo and there’s no engine noise to disturb the crabs and birds that inhabit the muddy forest floor. Gliding through the roots at low tide is a Zen-like affair.
#2 Have sunset drinks at JungutbatuStrung out along the northwest coast, Jungutbatu village spreads out along the beachfront from its core of accommodation and restaurants. The sandy beach is lovely and though it is no great shakes for swimming, it looks gorgeous at low tide, a strip of coarse golden sand that arcs before an aquamarine sea filled with wooden boats. It’s an ideal place for sunset drinks or for losing days gazing out to Gunung Agung on the north-western horizon.
#3 Go snorkelling at Manta PointDive into the crystal-clear waters of the Manta Point on Nusa Lembongan and get ready to be mesmerized by the beauty of the underwater world. As you descend into the blue abyss, you'll be greeted by the fascinating sight of giant manta rays gracefully gliding through the ocean's vast expanse.
These gentle giants are known to frequent this area, and with a little bit of luck, you might even get to witness them somersaulting in the water, putting on a show that's sure to leave you in awe. The vibrant coral reefs spread out in front of you create the perfect backdrop for this breathtaking aquatic experience.
Say goodbye to the mundane and embark on an underwater adventure that you'll never forget.
#4 Party with the day-trippers at Mushroom BayA crescent of white sand behind a turquoise bay, Mushroom Bay is small and charming. But when the day-trippers arrive, this small beach becomes busy with boats and hosts huge offshore party pontoons. If that all sounds too much, wander down to the beach club at Sunset Beach for much of the same but fewer people.
#5 Visit the Underground House at LembonganAt the top of a steep hill is Lembongan, the largest settlement on the island and the location of the Underground House. Reminiscent of France's troglodyte caves and dug between 1961 and 1976 by Made Byasa, a local man who is said to have been inspired by the Mahabharata, it consists of several dank rooms, a well and ventilation shafts.
#6 Make peace at Pura EmpuajiPura Empuaji on Nusa Lembongan is a stunning temple that is known for its serene and peaceful atmosphere. However, like any place of worship, it has witnessed its fair share of conflict and tension in the past.
If you are planning to visit Pura Empuaji, why not take a moment to reflect on how you can contribute to making the temple a more harmonious and cohesive community. Perhaps you can offer a smile and a word of kindness to your fellow visitors, or volunteer to help maintain the temple's grounds.
#7 Go cliff-diving at Dream BeachThe two loveliest of Bali’s beaches lie on the southwest coast but daredevils should head for Dream Beach. This stunning beach boasts an abundance of clear turquoise waters, making it a paradise for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. The shimmering water sparkles in the golden sunshine, and as you immerse yourself in it, you truly feel like you're in a dreamland.
The sandy shore is a sight to behold, and it's perfect for lazy strolls or taking long peaceful walks. Whether you're out for a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family vacation, Dream Beach has something in store for everyone. Don't miss out on the chance to explore this oasis of tranquility and serenity on your next.
#8 Witness the Devil's TearsDeep in the heart of Nusa Lembongan lies one of nature's greatest spectacles. An awe-inspiring sight that can take your breath away, the Devil's Tear is a natural rock formation that creates a stunning water show unlike any other. As the waves crash against the rocks, powerful sprays of mist shoot up into the air, creating an ethereal display of natural beauty.
The mesmerizing water show is something that simply cannot be missed. If you're looking for an unforgettable experience in Nusa Lembongan, then be sure to visit the awe-inspiring Devil's Tear – it's a true masterpiece of nature.
During the day, this spot is packed with day-tour folk talking selfies but after they leave at around 5pm, stick around for magnificent crimson sunsets that reflect in the tidepools below.
#9 Visit the Yellow BridgeThe Yellow Bridge is a must-visit for anyone travelling to Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Ceningan. This iconic bridge connects the two islands and is a sight to behold. The stunning views of the crystal-clear ocean and the surrounding islands are simply breathtaking.
As you take a stroll on the bridge, you can feel the gentle ocean breeze and the warmth of the sun on your skin. It's a perfect spot for taking pictures, spending time with loved ones, or simply taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature.
#10 Take a yoga classOn the tranquil island of Nusa Lembongan, the perfect way to disconnect from the stress of daily life is to indulge in a revitalizing yoga or meditation class. With various wellness centers and yoga studios scattered around the island, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced yogi, the classes here cater to all levels. Imagine practicing your sun salutations amidst breathtaking ocean views or finding inner peace in a serene garden setting. It's the ultimate way to recharge your mind, body, and soul while immersing yourself in the calming culture.
Where to stayThe majority of places to stay on Nusa Lembongan are on the north and west coasts, with limited options to the south and east. The quality of digs is improving all the time and there are a small number of inland guesthouses and hotels popping up now too. Most people will stay in either Mushroom Bay or Jungutbatu.
JungutbatuResorts are muscling in on the beach hut scene here as the accommodation in and around Jungutbatu is starting to make the best use of those sublime views of Bali over the water.
Mushroom BayClusters of hotels, bungalows and villas are taking this popular stretch of paradise a dream place to stay the night.
Best restaurants and barsWith a couple of notable exceptions – you should try and eat at Lighthouse d'Nusa Restaurant if you can – most places on Nusa Lembongan serve typical Indonesian and Western fare (pizzas, burgers). The seafood here is often good too.
JungutbatuOffering a mix of small, roadside cafes, decent warung and excellent sundowner spots (some complete with DJs), Jungutbatu has the most choice on the island, including a sushi joint.
Mushroom BayMushroom Bay has a couple of decent seafront cafes and restaurants, but go further inland and you will find more options like coffee shops, places selling Western food, and grills.
How to get to Nusa LembonganThere are over twenty daily services to Jungutbatu and eight to Mushroom Bay. All leave from either the end of Jl Hang Tuah in north Sanur or from Serangan harbour. Note that all boats anchor just off the beach, so you’re required to wade ashore; a porter may offer to carry your luggage.
By fast boatSeveral private operators run speedy boats from Sanur to Lembongan. Operators include Scoot and Rocky, which both run four times a day in each direction (30min). Scoot, which departs from Jl. Hang Tua, also has a combination ticket with Gili Trawangan and Lombok. Rocky departs from Serangan harbour.
Perama operates a shuttle boat from Sanur that connects with its island-wide shuttle bus services from Sanur, Kuta, and Ubud. It runs to Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida (3 times daily); book a day in advance. All three provide pick up/drop off to hotels in tourist areas. Public fast boats run from Serangan and Sanur to Lembongan (several times daily).
By slow boatFrom Sanur there are irregular slow boats for Jungutbatu (2hr) and Mushroom Bay (90min), but they are unreliable and unsafe.
How many days do you need?Nusa Lembongan is small, so why it is possible to whip around its highlights on a day trip from Bali, ticking off Dream Beach, the Devil's Tear overlook, and Mushroom Bay, it's better to stay for two or three nights to explore the island at your leisure. This will give you beach time, the chance to go snorkelling or diving, and squeeze in a mangrove tour as well. That said, if sunbathing is on the cards, you could easily spend a week here.
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Tips for getting aroundWith very few cars, getting around tiny Nusa Lembongan is often best on foot or bike, but there are some motorised options too. Here's how to get around.
By bike or motorbikeNot needed around the villages but a good bet around Nusa Lembongan set off in a clockwise direction to avoid a killer climb south of Jungutbatu if cycling. The road is tarmac, although very broken in places. Both bikes and motorbikes can be rented through your accommodation
By golf buggyA couple of places rent 4- or 6-seat electric golf carts for 5 or 10 hrs.
By pick-upSome isolated restaurants in the south offer free transport with a reservation.
On footNone of the best west-coast beaches is more than 90min from Jungutbatu.
Best time to visitThe best time to visit Nusa Lembongan is during the dry season (April to October) as the weather is sunny and dry, with little rainfall, and the ocean is calm, making it perfect for water activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving.
July and August are peak season here, so book accommodation (and some of the better restaurants) ahead of your arrival. Your hotel will also be able to sort travel to/from the boat as well. The wet season (November to March) can make things even cheaper for visitors, but the island is humid and the downpours might put dampeners on your beach time.
Find out more about the best time to visit Indonesia.
Plan your trip to Nusa Lembongan with our guide to Bali and Lombok.